Environment Pollution – Water Pollutants

Water Pollutants

Sources – community waste water, Industrial waste, Agricultural chemicals waste, Thermal & nuclear pollution, Oil spills, Radioactive dump waste, Groundwater seepage etc.

  • Sudden rise in water temperature due to thermal pollution, which uses water as coolant & releases hot water to source, kills aquatic animals as they have a very narrow tolerance limit with respect to temperature
  • Polluted water reduces dissolved oxygen which leads to depletion of aquatic flora & fauna
  • Oil spills in water can be cleaned with the help of Bregolia byproduct of paper industry
  • Water hyacinth (an aquatic weed) can purify water by taking some toxic materials & a number of heavy metals from water.

Water Pollutants

Biochemical oxygen demand

  • amount of dissolved oxygen needed by bacteria in decomposing the organic waste present in water
  • Actually a measurement of pollution by organic wastes expressed as milligram of oxygen / liter water

Higher value of BOD indicates low dissolved oxygen in water (BOD is only limited to biodegradable materials only)


Chemical oxygen demand

  • a measure of oxygen equivalent required for oxidation of total organic matter i.e. degradable & non degradable, present in water.


Diseases by Water Pollution


  • A crippling deformity caused by methyl mercury poisoning mainly by industrial waste water
  • first described in the inhabitants of Minamata Bay, Japan and resulted from their eating fish contaminated with mercury industrial waste


itai itai

  • Also known as ouch ouch disease (pain in bones & joints) caused by water contamination by cadmium


Blue Baby Syndrome

  • Excess nitrates in drinking water reacts with hemoglobin to form nonfunctional methaemoglobin which impairs oxygen transport


Skeletal Fluorosis

  • Excess of fluorides in drinking water can cause neuromuscular disorders, teeth deformity, and hardening of bones, painful joints & outward bending of legs from knees – Knock knee syndrome


Black foot disease

  • Caused by leaching of arsenic from soil & rocks to ground water used for drinking purposes


Water contaminated with lead

  • Cause anemia, loss of muscle power & bluish lines around the gums


Iodine 131

  • Produced by nuclear tests, passed to vegetation & then appears in milk of the cattle that consume the contaminated vegetation & is passed to humans.
  • causes serious damage to thyroid glands especially among children


Sick building syndrome (SBS)

  • a situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified
  • causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) systems


Pollution in Leather Industry

  • Leather industry in India has become 0 discharge industry as ~80% of the effluents are treated and recycled back into use and remaining 20% are solidified and their salts used for other purposes.
  • As a result, Indian leather industry is REACH compliant (EU norms) and exported $4.5 bio in 2011-12 and the target is $14 bio by 2015-16 (growth rate of 20% p.a.)
India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017

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